I believe that Edward John Williams was born in the June quarter of 1917, his mother’s maiden name was also Williams, as shown on Free BMD’s, if I have the correct birth. (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/22A/29).
With this scant information, I looked in the Hawarden Registration District for a marriage of a Williams & a Williams and found a marriage of Emlyn Williams and Sarah Williams in a Civil Marriage at Hawarden (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/05/54) in 1916.
There is a burial of a Sarah Williams in 1929, age 48 years, her address was Wood Lane, Hawarden and she was buried on the 23rd October 1923. Any information to deny or clarify Edward John’s parentage would be gratefully received.
The reason I have started Edward John Williams’s story like this is because the only clue I have is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation for Edward, where he is described as the Step-son of Emily Williams, Ewloe, but this is in contradiction to the newspaper cutting that shows that he is described as the son of Mrs. E. Williams, 16, Ridgeway, Ewloe.
So did Edward’s father remarry after his wife’s death and was the new bride’s name, by coincidence Emily, or was Emily Williams a relative and Edward was living with her as her son, maybe he was her grandson and there was a clerical error? A mystery indeed.
So I consulted the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939 and looked up the inhabitants of 16, Ridgeway, Ewloe and found that a John Williams lived there on that day and also this source gave his birth date as the 28th February 1883, he was a single and also Road Work Labourer (Heavy Work). This of course did not help, except that a Williams lived there, but no clue there really.
However I find that an Edward J. Williams was living at the Square, Wood Lane, Hawarden on the same National Register with an Emily Williams. Is this him?
This source tells us that Emily Williams’s date of birth was the 5th January 1876, she was a widow and like all married/widowed women on this registers, who did not have a job, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Also in the household was Edward J Williams who’s date of birth is given as the 21st April 1917, he was single and a General Labourer Steel *(Heavy Worker.) Another occupant was John Hymes born on 21st May 1876, he was single and a Permanent Way Labourer (Heavy Worker).
*This gels with the newspaper cutting which said that Edward worked at John Summers & Sons.
So I researched Emily on the 1939 National Register and I believe that I found her on the 1911 census living with her husband Samuel at Wood Lane, Hawarden. Samuel Williams,36, was an Engine Driver (Colliery) born Level, Hawardem, his wife Emily, 34, was born Ewloe and they tell us that they had been married 15 years and 3 children had been born and were still living. Their children were Clara, 15, Agnes, 13 and also William Ed., age 6, all born Flintshire.
Sadly, I believe that Samuel died in the September quarter of 1912, age 38, (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/07A/37).
As you can see I know nothing of Edward John’s childhood nor his teen age years, but he may have been conscripted* or enlisted, but when he died he had been in the Army for 15 months before he was killed, according to the newspaper report below.
*Conscription was for men who were over the age of 20 years. Edward was 24 in 1939. So he may have enlisted or was conscripted.
However he was to find himself in the Royal Army Service Corps in the Middle East. Please read:-
Royal Army Service Corps – – https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/4495/royal-army-service-corps
THE ROLE OF THE RASC. – Military Training Pamphlet No23 Part 1.
The above website will give an idea what Edward did for his part in the war.
History Information – taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
The campaign in the Western Desert was fought between the Commonwealth forces (with, later, the addition of two brigades of Free French and one each of Polish and Greek troops) all based in Egypt, and the Axis forces (German and Italian) based in Libya. The battlefield, across which the fighting surged back and forth between 1940 and 1942, was the 1,000 kilometres of desert between Alexandria in Egypt and Benghazi in Libya. It was a campaign of manoeuvre and movement, the objectives being the control of Mediterranean, the link with the east through the Suez Canal, the Middle East oil supplies and the supply route to Russia through Persia. Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, approximately 12 kilometres from the Libyan border, is adjacent to Halfaya Pass, the scene of heavy fighting in 1941 and 1942. All of the graves in the cemetery were brought in from the surrounding area, including military cemeteries at Sidi-Barrani, Buq Buq, Fort Capuzzo, Bardia, Minquar el Zannan, and Camerons Burial Ground at Nibeiwa. The cemetery now contains 2,046 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, of which 238 are unidentified.
His Casualty List 548 (Page 11) tells us he was Killed in Action on the 16th May 1941.
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission details, Edward John was buried , probably near where he died, on the 16th May 1941, at Blueskin No. 55 Site (261). And then was re-buried on the 17th May 1944 at Halfay-Sollum War Cemetery.
Emily Williams, I believe, died in the March quarter of 1958, (Registration district: Hawarden, Flintshire -Volume: 8a Page: 550) so she may have been the person who put Edward’s name forward to be added to the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial, for him to be remembered in perpetuity. Any information to fill in the gaps in Edward’s life would be appreciated.